Deep Creek Academy in Farmersville applauds graduates who have overcome obstacles to graduate on time

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By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
FARMERSVILLE – There are many reasons students attend continuation high schools, principal Emily Koop pointed out at Deep Creek Academy’s graduation ceremony on June 5. Some students are uncertain in their ability to meet the academic rigors of high school. Others become parents who need the daycare and flexible scheduling to live up to their responsibilities as parents. Many overcome challenging health issues, home lives and situations well beyond their control but close enough to hold them back.
But all of the 13 graduates in DCA’s Class of 2018 had one thing in common – perseverance. 
Senior Laura Gutierrez transferred to DCA after becoming pregnant during her junior year. She said she knows her baby boy, Lucas, is not fully aware of the effect he has had on her life, but she wanted to testify at graduation that he has made her into a better person than she could have ever imagined. She then credited her own mother with setting an example of putting your children first, supporting her passion for art, and making her do her homework to graduate on time.
“Without my mother, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Gutierrez, DCA’s Scholar of the Year. 
Yadiralia Salinas shakes hands with Deep Creek Academy administrator while accepting her diploma last Wednesday, June 6 during Deep Creeks commencement ceremony. Submitted photo.

Yadiralia Salinas shakes hands with Deep Creek Academy administrator while accepting her diploma last Wednesday, June 6 during Deep Creeks commencement ceremony. Submitted photo.

Gutierrez spoke of Frida Kahlo, whose struggles through a car accident, divorce, depression and alcoholism to famed artist helped her become an inspirational icon to women across the globe. She then quoted the surrealist, “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”
Always helpful and supportive, Juan Beltran was the Citizenship Award recipient while Brenda Ugalde Romero won the Inspirational Award for going out of her way to enrich the lives of her fellow classmates. 
“Stand tall and proud,” Gutierrez said. “Congratulations to every graduate who pushed past all of the hurdles life has thrown at us.”
Steve Ansell, the longest tenured teacher at DCA with five years at the continuation high school, followed up his praise of students by giving credit to Emily Koop, the school’s first principal in three years. After three years of staffing changes, the beginning and end of an online curriculum, and discussions of having parallel programs at the high school, Ansell said none was more important than hiring Koop to lead the school.
“Of all of the changes that have happened the biggest change was getting a principal,” Ansell said. “Now we have a fantastic principal and a fantastic staff and she has really changed the culture of DCA.”
Koop again turned the attention back to her students. She said every student on the stage at Freedom Elementary School’s multipurpose room took a different journey to arrive at the same destination as their classmates and their counterparts at Farmersville High School, where more than five DCA students returned in time for their senior year.
“I am in awe of out students who have put more emphasis on their education than anything that might stand in their way,” Koop said. 
One by one the 11 students in attendance received their diploma from Koop, and then reciprocated with a hug before shaking the hands of Superintendent Randy DeGraw and board members Jorge Vazquez, John Vasquez, John Alvarez and Lupe Fernandez. Ansell left the students, parents and relatives with some parting words. 
“There are people who say a diploma isn’t what it used to be, but it is everything it is supposed to be,” he said. “If you don’t believe me, ask those who don’t have one.”